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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Zen, But Confusing: Szwaja’s HQ

posted by on November 6 at 22:44 PM

Jonah reports:

Szwaja’s party is at Ravenna Third Place Books, in the bar downstairs. The room is packed with old people with long gray hair. Very casually dressed in a tie and dirty white New Balance sneakers, Joe Szwaja sat down with The Stranger: “The numbers aren’t what we want, but they’ll go up.” Then he started talking about rivers. It was very zen, but confusing.

Even if Godden beats him in the election, does Szwaja still think he could take her in a game of basketball? Yes: “I’d try to lure her into the post-up game. Very few people can beat me in the post-up game.”

Szwaja took a couple of shots at Godden. “Unlike Godden, I would never use NOVA staff to help my campaign.” He chastised local media for its “lack of substance.” If he doesn’t win, he wants to concentrate on neighborhood climate councils and improving sustainability in neighborhoods. He says he wants over 50 percent, of course, but he estimates he’ll get between 30-40 percent of the vote. (He’s at 27% now.)

He’s against Prop 1 and said, “The earth doesn’t care about compromises.” He also supports Maria Ramirez.

Commenting on the chill atmosphere in the bookstore, a tall twentysomething—one of the younger people in the audience—said, “Since Joe’s a Green Party candidate, a lot of his supporters are used to losing.” A man with the awesome name of Claude Ginsberg was upset with The Stranger’s coverage of Szwaja: “What’s hippie-style about speaking truth to power?” Indeed.

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"Unlike Godden, I would never use NOVA staff to help my campaign."

Is this supposed to be sarcasm that failed really poorly? As a Nova student ("Nova" isn't an acronym and need not be capitalized, y'all) I can't fathom a staff member helping on Godden's campaign, even if they've got beef with Joe (which is rare). What's this about?

Posted by Shanay | November 7, 2007 11:20 AM

This article is a case in point - the reporting and political analysis at the Stranger could be a lot better. For example, the room was packed, but at least 25% of them were under 30. Somehow, in this blog entry, they vanished, as did a lot of coverage of Joe's campaign earlier. I was at the party the whole time, but I heard nothing that resembled "zen" and Joe was quite clear.

The Stranger reversed its endorsement of Joe at the last minute, only giving as a reason that he shouldn't run against "the grand dame of Seattle politics." What kind of reason is that, given that this "grand dame" has done nothing except rubber-stamp a lot of the Mayor's wealthy developer-friends' wishes? What she has done is work way less than 40 hours per week at her job, unlike her fellow Council members, and she spent and an hour and a half every two weeks earlier this year at a hair salon – all on our time. This can be found in public records, and remains unreported by any paper, including the Stranger.

The correspondent from the Stranger at the party, when asked, would not reveal a reason for the reversal. So, what was the reason? What gain did the Stranger perceive it could get by reversing itself after making a rousing endorsement of Joe in the primary? I guess the decisions are made in smoke-filled back rooms just as they are at the Times and P-I. Maybe it’s just different smoke.

The correspondent made a statement to the effect that the demographic served by the Stranger is 20-somethings more interested in partying than politics. This is cynical and self-fulfilling. The Stranger is the only widely distributed paper left in Seattle that has any kind of alternate take on local politics. If you dumb down your coverage, as in this blog entry, because you think 20-somethings aren’t very interested in politics, you are wrong, and you are doing a disservice to them and to democracy. And we “old people with long grey hair” look at the Stranger, too – we want a paper that reports on local politics, has good movie and restaurant reviews, and keeps us informed about developments in music and art (the Weekly sucks and no one I know reads it since they lost their political coverage).

The Times and P-I report news (or don’t report it, as in Joe’s case) with a corporate slant. Joe was dismissed by these major papers mostly because he couldn’t raise as much money as Godden. Are you now gauging politicians this way, too? Are you making editorial decisions based on how many vodka and nightclub ads you can sell, or some sort of favors that access to power can grant you? Show me I am wrong.

Posted by snark | November 7, 2007 11:53 AM

So Joe's failure at the polls is all the Stranger's fault? Look, Greenies, the guy took less than 30 percent of the vote in a two-person race. An endorsement from God couldn't have gotten Joe the Loser over the hump.

Posted by J.R. | November 7, 2007 1:03 PM

duh, duh, WIFE BEATER, duh. duh

Joe does not recycle very well. A lot like the last run and the one before that.

Go away.

Posted by Maggie | November 7, 2007 3:23 PM

duh, duh, WIFE BEATER, duh. duh

Joe does not recycle very well. A lot like the last run and the one before that.

Go away.

Posted by Maggie | November 7, 2007 3:23 PM

I'm finding myself more interested in this local sustainability thing than in his actual run. If Joe can replicate things like Sustainable Ballard across the city, that'd be great. I hope he hooks up with Jim Diers on this.

Posted by Charity | November 8, 2007 12:06 PM

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